It’s not often that I revisit a restaurant outside of my local neighbourhood, but after being incepted by images of 3 Ronin’s wagyu pho on Instagram I knew I had to go back. You will recall from being an avid reader of this blog that I last visited 3 Ronin back in September, when I thoroughly enjoyed their poached salmon congee and beef brisket baos. My partner, out of spoons from eating out so often in the first week of our annual leave, declined to come. This was a decision she lived to regret.
Before I get into the food, I need to make a quick special mention about the water. The table water served was filtered and chilled, and I was asked if I would prefer a bottle to pour by myself rather than them pouring for me. I quite like getting the choice to pour my own water, as it minimises hovering and gave me the opportunity to enjoy my pho alone.
3 Ronin’s pho, at $24.50, is the most expensive pho I have ever eaten. It is also, perhaps, one of the best.
The broth, which was poured onto the noodles in front of me in as an extravagant display, was delicious and full of umami. Two types of beef was served, one – a tender rare sliced wagyu, and the other – brisket with a bit of a smoked flavour which reminded me of their bao. There was also the addition of half of a soft boiled egg, which was delicious when eaten with the soup.
The bowl was accompanied by the standard Vietnamese mint, chopped chilli and a healthy serving of fresh bean sprouts. Interestingly, 3 ronin has chosen to serve their pho with finger limes rather than the traditional lemon or lime – a distinctly Australian choice. I found that compared to the usual conventional method of citrus delivery, the finger limes did not pollute the soup with sourness in every bite. As discrete pellets of sour flavour, the finger limes were able to provide a sour taste to specific mouthfuls only when desired, making them quite an interesting touch.
My overall thoughts are that while a very expensive bowl of Pho, the results are quite worth it. 3 Ronin still seems to be a a bit of a hidden gem, despite having been open for a couple of months. Only half the tables were filled at 12:30PM on a weekday, which is prime time for some lunch. I think at least part of this is due to the price – their food does seem a bit expensive to the cheaper, food court fare in Spice Alley – but I do still think it is undeserved. I’d highly recommend giving their pho, as well as their salmon congee a try.
On my third visit to 3 Ronin we again had the wagyu pho, which unfortunately wasn’t as good as I remembered it. We were also significantly disappointed by another dish.
3 Ronin’s Ginger and Shallot Sourdough Waffle ($16.50) with smoked salmon and slow egg, was, unlike the rest of their menu, actively bad. I could not imagine a more bland tasting, structureless waffle than the one pictured above. The slow egg, a bit watery this time and without its own flavour, struggled alongside tiny slivers of smoked salmon to add flavour, ultimately to no avail. An anti-recommendation for this dish is in order.
26 Kensington St, Chippendale NSW 2008
0411 616 167